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Beat Crazy: Legendary Ska Group to Receive Catalogue Overhaul in Two Countries!

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In what is quite possibly the first such occurrence since The Second Disc opened up shop in 2010, one popular ska band from England is getting two very different sets of catalogue reissues in their native land as well as the United States.

The Beat – known as The English Beat in North America – were among the top bands of the late-’70s/early-’80s ska revival in England. With an eclectic lineup (Dave Wakeling and Ranking Roger sharing lead vocals, Andy Cox on guitar, bassist David Steele, drummer Roger Morton and Lionel “Saxa” Martin on saxophone) and some of the catchiest tunes of the genre (“Mirror in the Bathroom,” “Hands Off…She’s Mine,” “Too Nice to Talk To” and a cover of The Miracles’ “Tears of a Clown” were all U.K. Top 10 hits), The Beat cut a large swath in British rock with their short but sweet run of three albums from 1980 to 1982.

The band broke up in 1983, and its members found more success throughout the ’80s in other outfits (Wakeling and Roger formed General Public, while Cox and Steele joined vocalist Roland Gift to form Fine Young Cannibals). In 2003, Wakeling, Roger, Morton and Saxa performed at the Royal Albert Hall for a sold-out, one-off gig; since then, the band has rather confusingly toured in two iterations across both sides of the Atlantic, with Roger being the sole member of The Beat in the U.K. and Wakeling heading The English Beat (currently on tour with Squeeze) in America.

Now, The Beat are getting celebratory catalogue releases from two labels internationally: Shout! Factory in the U.S., and Edsel in their native England. The British reissues of albums I Just Can’t Stop It (1980), Wha’ppen? (1981) and Special Beat Service (1982) are due out on June 25; however, full specifications have not been released, outside of Amazon U.K. listings citing the sets as 2 CD/1 DVD packages.

The U.S. titles are coming out July 10, and are anchored around three sets. First, and most excitingly, is The Complete Beat, a five-disc box set featuring I Just Can’t Stop ItWha’ppen? and Special Beat Service, all expanded with B-sides, plus two “Bonus Beat” discs, one of 12″ dubs and remixes and another featuring almost entirely unreleased live material, including three complete BBC sessions with John Peel. (One track from those Peel sessions, along with U.K. B-side “Which Side of the Bed…?” can now be streamed at Rolling Stone‘s website.)

There’s also going to be Keep The Beat, a brand-new career-spanning compilation (admittedly, one of many). And finally, the band’s 1983 set at The US Festival will be released as a CD/DVD set as well. (Currently, it is only listed as a free gift with purchases of the box set from Shout! Factory’s official store.)

While we wait for track listings for the Edsel sets, we do have the track lists for Keep the Beat and The Complete Beat to share after the jump.

The English Beat, Keep The Beat: The Very Best of The English Beat (Shout! Factory, 2012)

  1. Mirror in the Bathroom
  2. Doors of Your Heart
  3. Save It for Later
  4. Twist & Crawl
  5. The Tears of a Clown
  6. Best Friend
  7. I Confess
  8. Ranking Full Stop
  9. Whine & Grine/Stand Down Margaret
  10. Get-A-Job
  11. Jeanette
  12. Too Nice to Talk To
  13. Can’t Get Used to Losing You
  14. Sole Salvation
  15. Hands Off…She’s Mine
  16. End of the Party

The English Beat, The Complete Beat (Shout! Factory, 2012)

Disc 1: I Just Can’t Stop It (originally released as Go Feet BEAT-001 (U.K.)/I.R.S. SP-70606 (U.S.), 1980)

  1. Mirror in the Bathroom
  2. Hands Off…She’s Mine
  3. Two Swords
  4. Twist & Crawl
  5. The Tears of a Clown
  6. Rough Rider
  7. Click Click
  8. Ranking Full Stop
  9. Big Shot
  10. Whine & Grine/Stand Down Margaret
  11. Noise in This World
  12. Can’t Get Used to Losing You
  13. Best Friend
  14. Jackpot

Disc 1, Tracks 5 and 8 were not included on U.K. pressings of the album, and were released as 2 Tone single TT6A, 1979

Disc 2: Wha’ppen? (originally released as Go Feet BEAT-003 (U.K.)/I.R.S. SP-70607 (U.S.), 1981)

  1. Too Nice to Talk To
  2. Doors of Your Heart
  3. All Out to Get You
  4. Monkey Murders
  5. I Am Your Flag
  6. French Toast (Soleil Trop Chaud)
  7. Drowning
  8. Dream Home in NZ
  9. Walk Away
  10. Over and Over
  11. Cheated
  12. Get-a-Job
  13. The Limits We Set
  14. Psychedelic Rockers
  15. Hit It
  16. Which Side of the Bed…?

Disc 2, Track 1 was included on U.S. pressings of the album. Disc 2, Tracks 1 and 14 released as Go Feet single FEET4, 1980. Disc 2, Tracks 15-16 released as Go Feet single FEET11, 1981

Disc 3: Special Beat Service (originally released as Go Feet BEAT-005 (U.K.)/I.R.S. SP-70032 (U.S.), 1982)

  1. I Confess
  2. Jeanette
  3. Sorry
  4. Sole Salvation
  5. Spar Wid Me
  6. Rotating Head
  7. Save It for Later
  8. She’s Going
  9. Pato and Roger A Go Talk
  10. Sugar and Stress
  11. End of the Party
  12. Ackee 1-2-3
  13. What’s Your Best Thing? (B-side to “Save It for Later” – Go Feet FEET333, 1982)
  14. March of the Swivelheads (B-side to “Jeanette” – Go Feet FEET15, 1982)
  15. Cool Entertainer (12″ B-side – Go Feet FEET14, 1982)
  16. A Go Talk (Tappy Luppy Dub) (12″ A-side – Go Feet FEET14, 1982)

Disc 4: Remixes and Dubs

  1. Hands Off…She’s Mine (Extended Remix) (12″ A-side – Go Feet FEET121, 1980)
  2. Twist & Crawl (Extended Remix) (12″ B-side – Go Feet FEET121, 1980)
  3. Stand Down Margaret (Dub) (12″ B-side – Go Feet FEET3, 1980)
  4. Too Nice to Talk To (Dubweiser) (12″ A-side – Go Feet FEET124, 1980)
  5. Psychedelic Rockers (Dubweiser) (12″ B-side – Go Feet FEET124, 1980)
  6. Doors of Your Heart (Extended) (12″ A-side – Go Feet FEET129, 1981)
  7. Drowning (Dub) (12″ B-side – Go Feet FEET129, 1981)
  8. Hit It (12″ Version) (12″ A-side – Go Feet FEET1211, 1981)
  9. Which Side of the Bed…? (12″ Version)  (12″ B-side – Go Feet FEET1211, 1981)
  10. Save It for Later (Extended) (12″ A-side – Go Feet FEET12333, 1982)
  11. What’s Your Best Thing (Dub) (12″ B-side – Go Feet FEET12333, 1982)
  12. Cool Entertainer (Extended) (12″ B-side – Go Feet FEET1214, 1982)
  13. Jeanette (Extended) (12″ A-side – Go Feet FEET1215, 1982)
  14. March of the Swivelheads (Extended) (12″ B-side – Go Feet FEET1215, 1982)
  15. I Confess (Extended) (12″ A-side – Go Feet FEET1216, 1982)

Disc 5: Live Tracks

  1. Tears of a Clown (John Peel Session – 11/5/1979)
  2. Ranking Full Stop (John Peel Session – 11/5/1979)
  3. Click Clack (John Peel Session – 11/5/1979)
  4. Mirror in the Bathroom (John Peel Session – 11/5/1979)
  5. Big Shot (John Peel Session – 11/5/1979)
  6. Too Nice to Talk To (John Peel Session – 9/22/1980)
  7. New Psychedelic Rockers (John Peel Session – 9/22/1980)
  8. Monkey Murders (John Peel Session – 9/22/1980)
  9. Walk Away (John Peel Session – 9/22/1980)
  10. Spar Wid Me (John Peel Session – 3/29/1982)
  11. End of the Party (John Peel Session – 3/29/1982)
  12. She’s Going (John Peel Session – 3/29/1982)
  13. Save It for Later (John Peel Session – 3/29/1982)
  14. Sole Salvation (John Peel Session – 3/29/1982)
  15. Pato and Roger A Go Talk (John Peel Session – 3/29/1982)
  16. Best Friend (Live @ The Opera House, Boston – 11/19/1982)
  17. Tears of a Clown (Live @ The Opera House, Boston – 11/19/1982)
  18. Twist & Crawl (Live @ The Opera House, Boston – 11/19/1982)
  19. Get-a-Job/Stand Down, Margaret (Live @ The Opera House, Boston – 11/19/1982)

All tracks on Disc 5 previously unreleased except Tracks 17-18, which were B-sides to the “I Confess” U.S. CD single (I.R.S. CC 30316, 1989) and Track 19, which appeared on the promotional LP What is Beat? (I.R.S. SP-70040 (U.S.), 1983)

The English Beat, Live at The US Festival 1983 (Shout! Factory, 2012)

Disc 1: CDDisc 2: DVD (program listing is identical)

  1. Mirror in the Bathroom
  2. Doors Of Your Heart
  3. Two Swords
  4. Jeanette
  5. I Confess
  6. Too Nice to Talk To
  7. Spar Wid Me
  8. Get-a-Job/Stand Down Margaret
  9. Tears of a Clown
  10. Ackee 123
  11. Twist and Crawl
  12. Ranking Full Stop
  13. Save It for Later
  14. Jackpot

Written by Mike Duquette

April 16, 2012 at 13:47

3 Responses

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  1. This is great news, though of course we’ll have to wait to see how the Edsel versions compare – they’re all listed as 2CD / 1DVD sets, so there must be additional video footage, if nothing else.

    There are a few errors / omissions above:

    1) “Too Nice To Talk To” was only included with a later CD version of the US “Wha’ppen?” – it wasn’t originally on the album anywhere. The album was – like most Two-Tone-oriented bands’ second efforts – regarded as a disappointment (though I tend to consider The Specials’ “More Specials,” Madness’ “Absolutely” and The Selecter’s “Celebrate The Bullet” as more serious and better efforts than their debuts. That said, “Wha’ppen” is a bit weaker than the Beat’s debut – but it’s still great.)

    2) I don’t know how it will be on the Shout Factory release, but “Wha’ppen” sees the its original artwork restored for the Edsel release. I liked it a lot, and loved how “Wha’ppen” saw the band tackle trickier (that is to say, less commercially obvious than ska / reggae) Caribbean sounds, and I liked the feel of the original cover. The red and orange collaged mess of the reissue was sort of embarrassing.

    3) Pretty sure the “Cool Entertainer” version on the “Special Beat Service” CD is the 7″ version, not the 12″ version.

    All in all, this will be a great reissue. I have all three original CDs, plus the few compilations that added tracks not on the original albums, but they all fell short of including even some obvious single sides. This release sees the first wide-spread CD availability of 18 live tracks, 15 radio sessions tracks and (by my count) 11 7″ or 12″ tracks – nearly three dozen “new” tracks, and that’s not including some stuff only found on the limited edition “BPM” 2xCD release.

    But it’s not *really* complete – the three live tunes from the “Dance Craze” compilation are missing. This isn’t a big deal, since two of them are represented here in other live versions (“Big Shot” is not) and the fact is, their live versions aren’t terribly different from the originals. Also missing are several post-breakup remixes by the likes of Jellybean Benitez, Tic Tac Toe and Mark “Spike” Stent. Hurray for that – these were weak attempt to make the band’s music “contemporary,” but they added little and sound more dated than the originals today! Three 7″ versions are missing – “Doors Of Your Heart” (about 45 seconds shorter than the album version), “Drowning” (about 20 seconds shorter than the album version) and “I Confess” (about a minute shorter than the album version.) As these were simple edits probably intended to increase the odds of radio airplay, it’s no great loss. So buy this set, get “Dance Craze” and you’re set.

    Unless Edsel offers more!

    However, one of the boys in the band played me a completely messed up but brilliant mix of “French Toast (Soleil Trop Chaud)” that was about nine minutes long and sounded like Lee Perry had done it. It wasn’t too polished, and I imagine it was just some mucking about in the studio and never intended for release, but one does notice no actual outtakes here. Wonder if there were any more!


    April 16, 2012 at 23:33

  2. An update I posted on the Steve Hoffman forum site, now that the Edsel track listings are available:

    As has been announced, both Shout Factory (in the USA) and Edsel (in the UK) are reissuing the (English) Beat’s catalog in deluxe style. The core of these programs are pretty much the same – all three studio album, and pretty much all of the non-LP stuff. Neither series include three 7″ single edits (no great loss – these were simple edits of the album versions) nor the three live “Dance Craze” compilation tracks.

    Comparing these two series can be a little tricky because versions of some tracks have slightly different names – the UK 12″ of “I Confess” is called both that and “I Confess (Dave Allen remix)” . . . but I’ve gone to the trouble of comparing both sets, and here are the differences:

    THE SHOUT FACTORY BOX: This is a five CD set – the three albums each on its own CD (with bonus tracks), plus two CDs of live tracks, Peel sessions and a few odds and ends. It has FOUR TRACKS that do not appear to be on the Edsel reissues. They are live versions of “Best Friend,” “Tears Of A Clown,” “Twist And Crawl” and “Get-A-Job / Stand Down Margaret,” all recorded in Boston in 1982.

    THE EDSEL REISSUES: These are 2CD / 1DVD sets, similar to Edsel’s recent reissues of the Jesus & Mary Chain catalog. These include everything in the Shout Factory box (except the four live tracks listed above) PLUS:

    1) A four-song Mike Read radio session featuring “Hands Off . . . She’s Mine,” “Mirror In The Bathroom,” “Rough Rider” and “Twist And Crawl” from 1980.

    2) A five-song live set from the Hammersmith Palais from (I believe) 1982, featuring “Doors Of Your Heart,” “I Confess,” “Spar Wid Me,” “Save It For Later” and “Mirror In The Bathroom.”

    3) An outtake called “It Makes Me Rock.”

    4) A David Jensen radion session song called “Night And Day.”

    5) Five remixes of “Mirror In The Bathroom,” two of “Can’t Get Used To Losing You” and one each of “Ackee 1-2-3” and “I Confess.” Most of these were done for post-breakup single releases and reissues. Some were on the BPM limited edition double CD. None is essential, in my opinion.

    Complicating things somewhat is that Shout Factory is including – if you order in advance through them – a bonus CD / DVD of the band’s 1983 US festival appearance with a “signed booklet.” Since the band members live all over the place and some of them detest some others, it seems unlikely that all the members signed the booklet – Shout Factory offers no details. As cool as this bonus is though, it WILL be sold separately.

    Americans can buy the Edsel reissues for about $50-$55 shipped from Amazon UK. The Shout Factory box (with bonus live CD) costs about the same. They haven’t announced a price for the US Festival CD/DVD itself.

    For me, the best bet is to buy the Edsel reissues (16 tracks more than the Shout Factory box, with only 4 live tracks missing) and then grab the US Festival disc on its own – I think it’ll be worth it for the outtake and radio sessions. But it’s sad they didn’t coordinate this better!


    April 20, 2012 at 12:14

    • Thanks for the great recap.

      What about omissions? I know the US What Is Beat cassette has a live version of Mirror/Ranking Full Stop from the Boston show that is missing.



      May 3, 2012 at 12:49

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